Concept of power in government

len Alfred Ajibola - 25th August, 2023 @ 09:45 AM

Topics in Government

Political power: Sources of political power Concept of power in government Functions of the executive arm of government Facts on Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy One-party system explained with its advantages and disadvantages What is Democracy? Definitions of Democracy Types of Government Functions of the Legislature and Judiciary Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, First Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Second Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Third Term Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Party System Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-Party System What are pressure groups? Types of pressure group Characteristics of Pressure Group Types of Constitution Scope of Government Characteristics of Government Importance of Government One-party system explained with its types and characteristics

Academic Questions in Government

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Which of the following is not a function of government?

  • A. Government provides all the jobs in the country they govern

  • B. Government empowers the less privilege and the physically challenged

  • C. Government provides a support system for the aged

  • D. Government provides infrastructure for her citizens

  • E. Government maintains external relations with other countries

  • F. Government generates revenue for the country they govern

In government, a type of one-party system whereby a single party is officially and legally recognized in a country or state is termed a _____.

  • A. Hegemonic Party

  • B. Pre-Dominant Party

  • C. Dominant Party

  • D. True Single-State

  • E. Unique-Ordered State

  • F. State-Exclusive Party

Which of the following is not a characteristic of the multi-party system?

  • A. There is an existence of several parties differing in principles and fundamentals.

  • B. The political parties are legally recognized.

  • C. It is democratic in nature.

  • D. Among the various parties, only one dominates the political landscape.

  • E. Some of the opposition parties can become politically insignificant.

  • F. It promotes the coalition of governments.

In a two-party system,  only 2 political parties are present in countries where they are practised.

  • A. True

  • B. False

On February 25, 2023; Nigeria as a country had its presidential election. The party system involved in this election is the _____.

  • A. Zero Party System

  • B. One-Party System

  • C. Two-Party System

  • D. Multi-Party System

  • E. APC, PDP and LP Party System

  • F. Coalition Party System

The following countries practice a zero party system except _____.

  • A. Cambodia

  • B. Vatican City

  • C. Bahrain

  • D. Saudi Arabia

  • E. Oman

  • F. Kuwait

Which of the following is not a characteristic of the two-party system?

  • A. It is democratic in nature

  • B. There isn't a third party

  • C. The two parties are always dominant in the political terrain

  • D. The president must emerge from one of both parties

  • E. It encourages freedom of expression at the press

  • F. It presents a choice of candidates to the people

A type of democracy whereby shura is practiced is termed _____ democracy

  • A. Direct

  • B. Indirect

  • C. Constitutional

  • D. Islamic

  • E. Authoritarian

  • F. Participatory

Basic concept of government:

Government is an academic subject taught at the secondary level of education. It is indeed a broad field of study, and may be defined in a variety of ways. These include:

  1. Definition of government as an institution of a state.

  2. Definition of government as a process (or an act) of governing.

  3. Definition of government as an academic field of study.


With regards to government as an academic field of study, it is defined as the study of institutions, theories, ideas, values and doctrines as relating to the acquisition and use of political power and authority for the welfare of the people.

Please read on the definitions of government here.


From the above definition, it can be observed that the attributes of power and authority plays a crucial role towards the coordinating, controlling, monitoring and securing actions of a government. 

Let us consider an example using the transportation sector. This sector is controlled and monitored through various agencies of the government. An instance of such agency in Nigeria is the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). They ensure that traffic signs, speed limits and other road security protocols are followed in accordance with the laws, as entrenched in the constitution. Their duties therefore promotes the security of lives and properties on Nigerian roads.

Please read on the functions of a government here.


In this article, we will dwell on political powers (or powers of the government).


Concept of power in government 

Power in government refers to the authority of an individual, group, or institution to make, enforce and interpret laws, while also exerting the rule of law through the application of sanctions (or punishments). However, understand that the use of power in government isn't always via force or command; rather, they are often accomplished through the institutions. In this regard, functional institutions are extremely important for the proper running of any government.

Please read on the types of government here.


The power accorded to a democratic system of government is given by the people. In fact, the democratic government is often referred to as 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people'. Such democratic means to power is considered as legitimate by various global government organizations.

Please read more on democracy here.

Unfortunately, power can also be forcefully taken through a military junta or coup d'état. An instance of such junta is the Niger coup d'état which ousted their democratically elected president.


On 26 July, 2023, a bloodless coup d'état occurred in the Republic of the Niger when a presidential guard rose to power by capturing and detaining the country's elected democratic president, Mohamed Bazoum. The junta was orchestrated by general Abdourahamane Tchiani, the presidential guard commander. However, such rise to power was considered as illegitimate by governmental organizations like ECOWAS, UN and AU respectively. America, United Kingdom and France also condemned the junta.

Meanwhile, understand that the concept of junta is considered a dictatorship form of government.

Please read on dictatorship and types of government here.


Political Power

Power is central to politics. In fact, those in political positions are often termed to have 'assumed power'. The concept of politics therefore revolves around the processes towards assuming power, and the act of managing the state of affairs through the implementation of power. This is the concept of political power.

Political power refers to the ability and capacity of maintaining law and order in the land by controlling the behavior of people through the creation and implementation of the rule of law via the constitution.

Please read more on constitution here.


The political power wielded by various arms of a democratic government are enshrined in the constitution, where they serve as laws and guides towards a proper running of the affairs of a country, nation or state. However, it is noteworthy to state that the constitutional powers allow for an oversight of one governmental arm by another. Also, no political actor ranks above the powers of the constitution, including the president. Rather, they all draw their powers from it.

You can read on party system here.


The powers wielded by the political arms are indeed immense to an extent that the glory or download of a nation depends upon their actions and inactions. In this light, governmental powers when utilized appropriately makes the people and nation prosperous. If misused and abused, the nation may be driven into insecurity and penury.

Please read on the arms of government here.


Although government have always got political powers, they may still lack the political will to exercise such powers. As an instance, the Nigerian federal government had faced massive corruption in the subsidization of fuel; and yet, had failed to tackle the corruption surrounding it, nor remove the subsidy itself. It took the political will of president Bola Tinubu of Nigeria to remove subsidy when he stated that 'subsidy is gone' on the day of his inauguration as president of Nigeria on May 29, 2023. This singular action from his government divided the opinions of many as it became a subject of debate within Nigeria.

You can read on the leadership qualities of Joseph that have transformed lives here.


The president functions as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In this regard, he or she can command the army, navy and air force to exercise their powers towards defending the country if the need arises.

The power to manage the state resources and treasury lie in the hands of the government. Using Nigeria as a point of reference, president Tinubu appointed Dele Alake, a journalist, activist and technocrat to serve as the minister of solid minerals. It is also believed that president Tinubu serves as Nigeria's minister of petroleum (in 2023), just as his predecessor who had served in that capacity for eight years.

Please read the functions of the executive arm of government here.

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Amazing facts in Government

The shortest war ever lasted for just 38 minutes. This is the Anglo-Zanzibar War in 1896

174 world leaders signed the Paris Agreement on Earth Day in 2016 at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York. This agreement presents the largest number of countries ever to come together to sign anything on a single day. The agreement aims to combat climate change, accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed to strengthen the global climate effort

United States of America is comprised of fifty states and Washington D.C.

The letter 'q' is not present in any of the American states

White House in Washington has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms while Buckingham Palace in London has 775 rooms, including 78 bathrooms

Three United States presidents; John Adams (2nd US president), Thomas Jefferson (3rd US president), and James Monroe (5th US president) died on the 4th of July.

Coincidentally, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson also died the same year, and that's 1826.

Abraham Lincoln, the great human emancipator, freedom fighter and 16th American president was popular for the saying:

Government of the people, by the people and for the people

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America was a professional wrestler before he assumed the office of the American President. Interestingly, he was only defeated once in his wrestling career

Notable points in Government

Ecclesiocracy is a form of government whereby religious leaders are recognized as the first citizens of a state.

The religious leaders in ecclesiocracy do not proclaim themselves as a direct instrument of divine revelation concerning laws governing the society.

A typical example of ecclesiocracy is seen in Vatican City where the pope presides as the leader of the state. However, the pope does not claim to receive direct revelation from God concerning civil laws.

The grand Ayatollah of Iran (Ali Khamenei) and president of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir are also considered as instances of leaders in ecclesiocracy.

It is worthy of note to state that the laws and rules governing the land in ecclesiocracy are based on religious beliefs, thus making it somewhat related to theocracy.

One of the duties of the government is to make laws that govern the society. Without laws, some of the rich may oppress the poor. Similarly, some of the highly placed in the society may end up oppressing the weak without being brought to justice.

The absence of government in a society, country, nation, state or community is referred to as anarchy.

An instance of anarchy occurred in Somalia in 1991 after a dictator name Said Barre was overthrown. This made Somalia disintegrate into fractions with local warlords imposing their authority over their land.

Please read on the forms of government here

Below are some of the functions of government:

  • It is the role of the government to protect and defend the fundamental human rights of her citizens.

  • The government maintains law and order through the law enforcement agencies. These will include the police, customs officers and other local securities.

  • It is the duty of the government to generate revenue. This can be achieved through foreign trade.

  • It is the responsibility of the government to maintain external relations with other countries. For this reason, the president may visit other countries for business and bilateral trade purposes. Similarly, other presidents may visit your country in this regard.

  • Please read on the functions of government here

Government can be defined under the following headings:

1. As an institution of a state.

Government is defined as an institution, agency, machinery or instrument that is established to manage the affairs of general welfare of the people making up a state or country


2. As a process or as an act of governing.

Government is defined as the processes and methods involved in the formulation, administration and implementation of public policies from a procedure which had been specifically spelt out in the constitution of a country or state


3. As an academic field of study.

Government is defined as the study of institutions, theories, ideas, values and doctrines as relating to the acquisition and use of political power for the welfare of the people

Please read more on the definitions of government here

End Sars - Len Academy

The End Sars is considered a pressure group in Nigeria. It campaigned in the interest of Nigerian youths, thus forcing the Nigerian government into scrapping the Special Anti-Robbery Squard (SARS) who had constantly brutalized Nigerians, especially the youths; through extortion, indiscriminate shootings, threats and other violent conducts.

Unfortunately, some Nigerian youths paid the ultimate price with their lives at the Lekki tollgate massacre. This happened on the 20th day of October, 2020.

Burna Boy, a Nigerian musician made a song titled '20 : 10 : 20' in this regard.

Please read on pressure groups in Nigeria here